too much

by Kristen

The headlines are maddening. New—but not—every day. Shootings. Bombings. Protests. Finger pointing. Name calling. Scandals. Broken Promises. Natural Disasters. Wars and rumors of wars.

Even as I process the details I feel a little less shocked than I was by the last fill-in-the-blank atrocity.

I feel my heart hardening. Because how can I care about all of it? There’s simply too much. The scope is too big to swallow. The pain is too great to comprehend. It’s easier to look away.

Then I remember why I have to care.

I Skype with my long-distance nieces. I see the older one’s art projects and hear about soccer. I watch the younger one crawl for the first time.

I spend an evening with my local niece and nephew. I play make believe and Zingo. I throw paper airplanes and read stories. I give good night hugs and kisses.

And love roughs up my calloused heart.

Looking into the eyes of my brothers’ children I remember statistics are more than numbers. They have faces and names.

I check on sleeping children tucked soundly in suburban beds, and I think of how many children aren’t growing up in a safe place be it their home, their city, their country or their refugee camp.

The death tolls rattled off by the media rip un-mendable holes in families and communities whether it’s half a block from me or half a world away. And that doesn’t go away with the news cycle.

So . . . I listen and learn. I choke on the hatred and horror, but I don’t turn away.


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